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Studio vs gig basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Mark_70, Dec 27, 2016.

  1. Mark_70


    Dec 31, 2013
    I never really got the thing about a bass being better suitable for 'studio work' vs a 'gigging bass'.
    Now, with these two additions to my humble stable, I'm starting to think there might be something there.

    Now, don't get me wrong - I'm not suggesting you would not be able to record with a Sterling or gig with a SR, but it just seems to me that, when playing at home, I prefer the clarity, almost "hi fi" sound of the Ibanez while I find myself gravitating towards the Sterling for gigs. Something about how it sits in the mix. I just love the Sterling for the bars and the Ibanez for playing at low volume at home. Different characters, but both class-acts.

    To put this in context; I'm just a simple weekend-warrior. Been doing this for many years, but certainly would call it a "hobby" so what do I know..

    Am I making stuff up here, or others out there have different favorites for "live" playing vs recording/home (irregardless of the type of music played) ?


  2. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    I think when people talk about studio vs. gigging instruments, they're mainly talking about irreplaceable vintage instruments being delegated to the studio.
    leurw, GregC, Catbuster and 16 others like this.
  3. It's been my experience that when you walk in and take anything from your case but a Fender Precision, the guy at the board will point to the wall and say: "Grab the P." :bassist:
  4. By the way, I play my Ibanez ash SR600 at many gigs. My 65 year old shoulder loves it.
    Quantized Harmonic likes this.
  5. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Unless I was in a situation where I had an irreplaceable instrument, and I was touring where other people were responsible for handling my instrument, I own and play good instruments, and take care of them.
    jaybones, Groove Doctor and bbh like this.
  6. Mark_70


    Dec 31, 2013
    Good point.. The Sterling is noticeably heavier. Makes a difference towards the fourth set of a 4 hr gig :)

    Roberto Nunez likes this.
  7. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    Yes. Absolutely.

    My go-to "live" bass is a Jazz bass wired in series. Lotsa great midrange, fairly light weight, nice skinny neck (Geddy) and low action. Comfy and loud, nicely pushes MOST amps, can hear it in most any situation.

    My go-to recording bass is a walnut Precision. 62 CS pickups, not especially HOT output, but wonderfully even across the strings, little higher action and little wider neck for "clean" playing. And it's probably three pounds heavier than anything else I own.

    Not that I couldn't use either one in either situation, but the differences are enough that I definitely notice.
    pbass2 likes this.
  8. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Gig instruments for me are all about light weight, no-neck dive and flexibility of tone.
    In the studio I want perfect intonation, quiet electronics, and one great tone from each bass.
  9. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Personally, I prefer a passive bass for studio. And almost always a Precision.
    For gigs, I almost always us an active J5.

    ymmv, clearly.
    leurw, Mechanical, Preventer and 6 others like this.
  10. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    ^Couldn't have said it better.

    The studio is where you pursue perfection. A gig is where you settle for mere excellence.
  11. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    The goals being a perfect take vs an entertaining set.
    AndyPanda and 40Hz like this.
  12. DD Gunz

    DD Gunz

    Jun 18, 2015
    I happen to play P basses live and in the studio. With that being said, depending on the gig, I will pick a bass to play based on the circumstances of the gig, location, length, etc. in other words, I usually don't take vintage instruments to dodgy bars in questionable locations. Call me paranoid, but I take a bass I consider to be replaceable.
  13. el_Bajo_Verde


    May 18, 2016
    In many cases, the gig bass is more about the "image" than how it sounds, depending on how superficial the people paying you are.
    Terracite, ubernator and bbh like this.
  14. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Nice! Very neat illustration of where the ultimate balancing point between art and entertainment is often determined by the goals of the venue you're playing in.

    Is music art or is it entertainment?

    The answer is both. Always.

    It's just the ratio that varies.
  15. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    some of my instruments are 'quieter' than others, but any of them are suitable for both. i use any of them for either purpose. but i agree: light weight for gigs...certainly a preference!
  16. mouthmw


    Jul 19, 2009
    I use both of mine for both - Fender Precision with flats (passive, EMG GZR) and a 2 band ray (USA SUB) with rounds. In fact, I've used the ray for more recording than my P, just found it suit the music we were recording better than P with flats. Both work fantastic for both live and recording.
  17. rufus.K


    Oct 18, 2015
    Live, my J is hot, nasty, fast, loose, and wonderful - albeit noisey.
    Recording, my Tobias is quiet and balaced string to string.
  18. 9mmMike

    9mmMike Would you happen to have a cookie for me? Supporting Member

  19. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Wikipedia often mistakes my opinions for fact Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2011
    As gig volume is typically louder than studio volume it makes sense to me that the characteristics people gravitate toward can be somewhat different. Also, studio mixes can go back in time and create perfect space for each instrument so a bass tone with tremendous character can really shine. At a gig some subtlety is lost in the competition for sonic space.
  20. Yeah for me it's just about not really wanting to risk theft or anything else with my US Jazz AVRI'75 in a bar setting, but don't care so much about the Squier; therefore, Fender in the studio and Squier on stage.

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